Declared 2016 Libertarian Presidential Candidate



Former Governor of New Mexico

Gary Earl Johnson
Born: January 1st, 1953  (age 64)

Gary Johnson Profile

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Gary Johnson on Education

QUESTIONER: Your mic might be broken. Let me read your question. How would your plans for education affect state universities and student loans and grants?

GARY JOHNSON: Zachary, I, uh, my plans don’t include doing anything when it comes to student loan. What I would like to point out is, is that I the reasons for higher costs in higher education rest with the fact that you as a student, uh, you know, tuition is getting high, and rather than making a decision not to attend higher education, because it costs so much, you're making a decision to take out a loan because government guarantees student loans.

“I maintain that because that there are those student loans available, and they’re guaranteed, that right now, that this is a, this is unique kind of situation where kids right now, yourself, are graduating from college and you’re literally strapped with a whole mortgage for the rest of your life that there’s no escaping that whole mortgage. I'm a believer in free markets. I just suggest to you that if student loans did not exist - and I am not advocating that, with regard to the federal government, - but if student loans did not exist, I think tuition would be a lot lower because colleges and universities wanna deliver their product and if there weren’t as many kids going to school because it costs too much, they would find ways to lower their price. But they haven’t, they haven’t met that necessity. They don’t see that as a necessity because all of you can get student loans. Hence the enormously high cost of higher education in lieu of everything else where you see goods and services, the cost of goods and services dropping.


2 November, 2012: Gary Johnson Yowie Online Town Hall Web Q&A


[…] Gov. Johnson believes there is no role for the Federal Government in education. He would eliminate the federal Department of Education, and return control to the state and local levels. He opposes Common Core and any other attempts to impose national standards and requirements on local schools, believing the key to restoring education excellence in the U.S. lies in the innovation, freedom and flexibility that federal interference inherently discourages. As Governor, he saw first-hand that the costs of federal education programs and mandates far outweigh any benefits, both educationally and financially.

Accessed on 9 June, 2016: Gary Johnson 2016, Issues



ADAM CAROLLA: What do you do with education? What’s your stance on that?

JOHNSON: Well, when it comes to the federal government, I would abolish the federal Department of Education, and very quickly. People don’t realize that the federal Department of Education gives each state eleven cents out of every school dollar that every state spends. But it comes with 15 cents of strings attached. The Federal government says you need to do A, B, C and D and here’s eleven cents. Well, to do A, B, C and D, it costs you 15 cents. A great example right now is transgender bathrooms that schools are now being dictated to, to provide by the federal government. Well, geez, that’s cost the federal government is mandating to the states.

Look, just leave the states alone, and what people don’t realize is, is by leaving the states alone, the states will actually have more money. People also think that the Department of Education was established under George Washington, when in fact, the federal Department of Education was established under Jimmy Carter. And tell me anything that’s been value added about the Department of Education since the, since the 80s.


CAROLLA: Someone just tweeted me (muffled) out that $88 million because of the teacher that couldn’t stop masturbating on biscuits or something, and handing them out to the kids.

GINA GRAD: And by the way, that is the second largest LAUSD payout

CAROLLA: Right. Cause these guys’ union protect them at every turn. And we have a warehouse literally where the bad teachers go and just sit and rot and getting paid full freight the entire time. I mean…

JOHNSON: So you devolve education to the states, fifty laboratories of best practices. And I think the best practices that are going to emerge in the future are those states that really bring competition to the public education. I don’t know why we’re fearing unleashing arguably millions of educational entrepreneurs on a system, um, that for the most part is very status quo. On a system that all we do is just put more and more money into system that by all measurable results are worse and worse.

CAROLLA: We have this problem, which I don’t get, which we understand that if you make truck tires, off-road tires, or you run an airline, or you have smoothie shops, and you do it for a profit, that’s okay because we know that’s gonna get you the best smoothie, or the best off-road truck tires, or the best cheapest flights, and safest airline with the cheapest flight. So that’s all privatized, that’s all work, that’s fine, we get it. That’s gonna bring out the best. And the places that make the bad smoothies, and charged too much for them are just gonna slough off and go out of business. And the places that really cater, or really do, you brought up Uber, the things that, ooh, we wanted one of these . The things that deliver service that we all want that will be fine. We talked about craft beers that people pay a little bit extra, or better product. They don’t want a Coors, Michelob or Miller, whatever. But then, we get to something like education, and everyone goes, we’re not doing for profit – these are kids. And it’s like, your kids are everything for profit, everything they eat is for profit, the Jamba Juice, for profit, they’re taking a Southwest flight over a TWA now defunct because for profit, Southwest is doing a better job at making profits and keeping people happy and attracting people. I could argue that education could be the ultimate for profit, because you’re gonna get the best product.

JOHNSON: And think of any occupation in this country where the top person in that occupation doesn’t make $30 million a year, except for education, because we don’t have a system that, um, that absolutely rewards the best. If you had full-blown competition when it came to education, um, you’d have educators making $30 million a year. Because what they would do is, they would be laying down templates that would positively impact all educational earners.

Right now, the Khan Academy. I mean, it’s free education, kindergarten through a doctoral degree in every single subject. And it’s free. That’s the model of the future. Why have we got bricks and mortar? Bricks and mortar, Ada, back to what you just said. I mean, geewhiz, everything else in our lives is competitive and as a result of it being competitive, things are better and better. But why can’t we apply that to school?


5 May, 2016: The Adam Carolla Show (1:16:25)



STELLA LOHMANN: Hi, I'm Stella Lohmann from Atlanta, Georgia. I've taught in both public and private schools, and now as a substitute teacher I see administrators more focused on satisfying federal mandates, retaining funding, trying not to get sued, while the teachers are jumping through hoops trying to serve up a one-size-fits-all education for their students. What as president would you seriously do about what I consider a massive overreach of big government into the classroom? Thank you.

BRET BAIER: That topic is for all candidates. And to get everyone to weigh in, 30 seconds each, please. Governor Johnson?

GARY JOHNSON: I'm promising to submit a balanced budget to Congress in the year 2013. That's a 43 percent reduction in federal spending. I am going to promise to advocate the abolishment of the federal Department of Education.

The federal Department of Education gives each state 11 cents out of every dollar that every state spends, but it comes with 16 cents worth of strings attached. So what America does not understand is that it's a negative to take federal money. Give it to 50 laboratories of innovation, the states, to improve on, and that's what we'll see: dramatic improvement.


September 22, 2011: Fox News-Google Republican Presidential Debate in Orlando, Florida



GARY JOHNSON: I was an absolute advocate of home schooling. It just makes all the sense in the world. And I was very much, I was more outspoken regarding school choice than any governor in the country, believing that we needed to bring competition to the public education which is in essence what you’re doing.

KELLY HALLDORSON: Do you support, ending the Department of Education?

Gary Johnson: Yes, and I do that from the standpoint that the federal government gives each states about eleven cents out of every school dollar that every state spends, but it comes with about 16 cents worth of strings attached. And those are the strings that you’re talking about. They’re really making it a negative to take federal money. Just get the states out of education, and yours is a great example I think, of, you’ve taken education on yourself and I dare say your results are going to be, if measured, would be outstanding.

Should everyone emulate what it is you’re doing? On that basis, I don’t think so. But this is the choice that you’ve made and if we were to open up the entire school system to genuine competition on how to deliver education, we would see some startling innovation. Giving it back to the states.


KELLY HALLDORSON: How do you feel that, by taking the government out of education that’ll help the family core?

Gary Johnson: Well, yours is the best example, yours is the best example that I think I’ve ever seen. You’ve obviously bonded together as a family unlike perhaps any family I’ve seen.

You’re living on a bus. But because of that, you get to travel all over the country, you get to do things constantly, and I think it’s really cool, just think it’s really cool. I think, I wish I had the same opportunity.



23 April, 2011: Gary Johnson speaking with the Halldorson family on the Unschool Bus




Other Candidates on Education

Hillary Clinton
Jill Stein
Donald Trump

Gary Johnson on other Issues

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